Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with prominent brain manifestations due to mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2. Here, we describe novel mouse brain models of TSC generated using conditional hypomorphic and null alleles of Tsc2 combined with the neuron-specific synapsin I cre (SynIcre) allele. This allelic series of homozygous conditional hypomorphic alleles (Tsc2c-del3/c-del3SynICre+) and heterozygote null/conditional hypomorphic alleles (Tsc2k/c-del3SynICre+) achieves a graded reduction in expression of Tsc2 in neurons in vivo. The mice demonstrate a progressive neurologic phenotype including hunchback, hind limb clasp, reduced survival and brain and cortical neuron enlargement that correlates with a graded reduction in expression of Tsc2 in the two sets of mice. Both models also showed behavioral abnormalities in anxiety, social interaction and learning assays, which correlated with Tsc2 protein levels as well. The observations demonstrate that there are graded biochemical, cellular and clinical/behavioral effects that are proportional to the extent of reduction in Tsc2 expression in neurons. Further, they suggest that some patients with milder manifestations of TSC may be due to persistent low-level expression of functional protein from their mutant allele. In addition, they point to the potential clinical benefit of strategies to raise TSC2 protein expression from the wild-type allele by even modest amounts.
Lung adenocarcinoma, the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, is responsible for over 500,000 deaths per year worldwide. Here, we report exome and genome sequences of 183 lung adenocarcinoma tumor/normal DNA pairs. These analyses revealed a mean exonic somatic mutation rate of 12.0 events/megabase and identified the majority of genes previously reported as significantly mutated in lung adenocarcinoma. In addition, we identified statistically recurrent somatic mutations in the splicing factor gene U2AF1 and truncating mutations affecting RBM10 and ARID1A. Analysis of nucleotide context-specific mutation signatures grouped the sample set into distinct clusters that correlated with smoking history and alterations of reported lung adenocarcinoma genes. Whole genome sequence analysis revealed frequent structural re-arrangements, including in-frame exonic alterations within EGFR and SIK2 kinases. The candidate genes identified in this study are attractive targets for biological characterization and therapeutic targeting of lung adenocarcinoma.
The tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) tumor suppressors form the TSC1-TSC2 complex, which limits cell growth in response to poor growth conditions. Through its GTPase-activating protein (GAP) activity toward Rheb, this complex inhibits the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1), a key promoter of cell growth. Here, we identify and biochemically characterize TBC1D7 as a stably-associated and ubiquitous third core subunit of the TSC1-TSC2 complex. We demonstrate that the TSC1-TSC2-TBC1D7 (TSC-TBC) complex is the functional complex that senses specific cellular growth conditions and possesses Rheb-GAP activity. Sequencing analyses of samples from TSC patients suggest that TBC1D7 is unlikely to represent TSC3. TBC1D7 knockdown decreases the association of TSC1 and TSC2 leading to decreased Rheb-GAP activity, without effects on the localization of TSC2 to the lysosome. Like the other TSC-TBC components, TBC1D7 knockdown results in increased mTORC1 signaling, delayed induction of autophagy, and enhanced cell growth under poor growth conditions.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) is a nutrient sensitive protein kinase that is aberrantly activated in many human cancers. However, whether dysregulation of mTORC1 signaling in normal tissues contributes to cancer risk is unknown. Here, we focused on hepatocellular carcinoma because it is a cancer with clear links to environmental factors that affect mTORC1, including dietary influences. Genetic ablation of the mTORC1 inhibitory component Tsc1 results in constitutively elevated mTORC1 signaling, an effect similar to that of obesity on this pathway. We found that mice with liver-specific knockout of Tsc1 developed sporadic hepatocellular carcinoma with heterogeneous histological and biochemical features. The spontaneous development of hepatocellular carcinoma in this mouse model was preceded by a series of pathological changes known to accompany the primary etiologies of this cancer, including liver damage, inflammation, necrosis, and regeneration. Chronic mTORC1 signaling caused unresolved endoplasmic reticulum stress and defects in autophagy, which contributed to hepatocyte damage and hepatocellular carcinoma development. Therefore, we demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for mTORC1 in carcinogenesis, perhaps representing a key molecular link between cancer risk and environmental factors, such as diet.
IL10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that has been found to have lower production in macrophages and mononuclear cells from asthmatics. Since reduced IL10 levels may influence the severity of asthma phenotypes, we examined IL10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for association with asthma severity and allergy phenotypes as quantitative traits. Utilizing DNA samples from 518 Caucasian asthmatic children from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) and their parents, we genotyped six IL10 SNPs: 3 in the promoter, 2 in introns, and one in the 3′ UTR. Using family-based association tests, each SNP was tested for association with asthma and allergy phenotypes individually. Population-based association analysis was performed with each SNP locus, the promoter haplotypes and the 6-loci haplotypes. The 3′ UTR SNP was significantly associated with FEV1 as a percent of predicted (FEV1PP) (P=0.0002) in both the family and population analyses. The promoter haplotype GCC was positively associated with IgE levels and FEV1PP (P=0.007 and 0.012, respectively). The promoter haplotype ATA was negatively associated with lnPC20 and FEV1PP (P=0.008 and 0.043, respectively). Polymorphisms in IL10 are associated with asthma phenotypes in this cohort. Further studies of variation in the IL10 gene may help elucidate the mechanism of asthma development in children.
interleukin 10 (IL10); single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); genetic association; family-based association test (FBAT); haplotype; promoter; 3′; untranslated region (3′UTR)
This article presents the case of an adult patient with tuberous sclerosis complex who presented with large right benign and left malignant Leydig cell tumors. The tumors were examined to determine if they showed the classic hallmarks of TSC1/TSC2 involvement.
Tuberous sclerosis; Leydig cell tumor; TSC1
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disorder due to mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2 that affects many organs with hamartomas and tumors. TSC-associated brain lesions include subependymal nodules, subependymal giant cell astrocytomas and tubers. Neurologic manifestations in TSC comprise a high frequency of mental retardation and developmental disorders including autism, as well as epilepsy. Here, we describe a new mouse model of TSC brain lesions in which complete loss of Tsc1 is achieved in multiple brain cell types in a stochastic pattern. Injection of an adeno-associated virus vector encoding Cre recombinase into the cerebral ventricles of mice homozygous for a Tsc1 conditional allele on the day of birth led to reduced survival, and pathologic findings of enlarged neurons, cortical heterotopias, subependymal nodules, and hydrocephalus. The severity of clinical and pathologic findings as well as survival was shown to be dependent upon the dose and serotype of Cre virus injected. Although several other models of TSC brain disease exist, this model is unique in that the pathology reflects a variety of TSC-associated lesions involving different numbers and types of cells. This model provides a valuable and unique addition for therapeutic assessment.
Through unknown mechanisms, insulin activates the sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP1c) transcription factor to promote hepatic lipogenesis. We find that this induction is dependent on the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1). To further define the role of mTORC1 in the regulation of SREBP1c in the liver, we generated mice with liver-specific deletion of TSC1 (LTsc1KO), which results in insulin-independent activation of mTORC1. Surprisingly, the LTsc1KO mice are protected from age- and diet-induced hepatic steatosis and display hepatocyte-intrinsic defects in SREBP1c activation and de novo lipogenesis. These phenotypes result from attenuation of Akt signaling driven by mTORC1-dependent insulin resistance. Therefore, mTORC1 activation is not sufficient to stimulate hepatic SREBP1c in the absence of Akt signaling, revealing the existence of an additional downstream pathway also required for this induction. We provide evidence that this mTORC1-independent pathway involves Akt-mediated suppression of Insig2a, a liver-specific transcript encoding the SREBP1c inhibitor INSIG2.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant, multisystem disorder, which affects 1 in 6000 people. About half of these patients are affected by mental retardation, which has been associated with TSC2 mutations, epilepsy severity and tuber burden. The bimodal intelligence distribution in TSC populations suggests the existence of subgroups with distinct pathophysiologies, which remain to be identified. Furthermore, it is unknown if heterozygous germline mutations in TSC2 can produce the neurocognitive phenotype of TSC independent of epilepsy and tubers. Genotype–phenotype correlations may help to determine risk profiles and select patients for targeted treatments. A retrospective chart review was performed, including a large cohort of 137 TSC patients who received intelligence assessment and genetic mutation analysis. The distribution of intellectual outcomes was investigated for selected genotypes. Genotype–neurocognitive phenotype correlations were performed and associations between specific germline mutations and intellectual outcomes were compared. Results showed that TSC1 mutations in the tuberin interaction domain were significantly associated with lower intellectual outcomes (P<0.03), which was also the case for TSC2 protein-truncating and hamartin interaction domain mutations (both P<0.05). TSC2 missense mutations and small in-frame deletions were significantly associated with higher IQ/DQs (P<0.05). Effects related to the mutation location within the TSC2 gene were found. These findings suggest that TSC2 protein-truncating mutations and small in-frame mutations are associated with distinctly different intelligence profiles, providing further evidence that different types and locations of TSC germline mutations may be associated with distinct neurocognitive phenotypes.
tuberous sclerosis; cognition; epilepsy; phenotype
We performed a genome wide analysis of 164 urothelial carcinoma samples and 27 bladder cancer cell lines to identify copy number changes associated with disease characteristics, and examined the association of amplification events with stage and grade of disease. Multiplex inversion probe (MIP) analysis, a recently developed genomic technique, was used to study 80 urothelial carcinomas to identify mutations and copy number changes. Selected amplification events were then analyzed in a validation cohort of 84 bladder cancers by multiplex ligation-dependent probe assay (MLPA). In the MIP analysis, 44 regions of significant copy number change were identified using GISTIC. Nine gene-containing regions of amplification were selected for validation in the second cohort by MLPA. Amplification events at these 9 genomic regions were found to correlate strongly with stage, being seen in only 2 of 23 (9%) Ta grade 1 or 1–2 cancers, in contrast to 31 of 61 (51%) Ta grade 3 and T2 grade 2 cancers, p<0.001. These observations suggest that analysis of genomic amplification of these 9 regions might help distinguish non-invasive from invasive urothelial carcinoma, although further study is required. Both MIP and MLPA methods perform well on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded DNA, enhancing their potential clinical use. Furthermore several of the amplified genes identified here (ERBB2, MDM2, CCND1) are potential therapeutic targets.
Epileptic seizures, particularly infantile spasms, are often seen in infants with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) soon after birth. It is feared that there are long-term developmental and cognitive consequences from ongoing, frequent epilepsy. In addition, the hallmark brain pathology of TSC, cortical tubers and giant cells are fully developed at late gestational ages. These observations have led us to examine the benefit of prenatal rapamycin in a new fetal brain model of TSC. In this Tsc1cc Nes-cre+ mouse model, recombination and loss of Tsc1 in neural progenitor cells leads to brain enlargement, hyperactivation of mTOR, and neonatal death on P0 due to reduced pup–maternal interaction. A single dose of prenatal rapamycin given to pregnant dams (1 mg/kg, subcutaneous) rescued the lethality of mutant mice. This one dose of prenatal rapamycin treatment reduced hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway in the mutant brain without causing apparent pregnancy loss. Continued postnatal rapamycin beginning at day 8 extended the survival of these mice to a median of 12 days with complete suppression of hyperactive mTOR. However, the rapamycin-treated mutants developed enlarged brains with an increased number of brain cells, displaying marked runting and developmental delay. These observations demonstrate the therapeutic benefit and limitations of prenatal rapamycin in a prenatal-onset brain model of TSC. Our data also suggest the possibility and limitations of this approach for TSC infants and mothers.
We describe a transgenic mouse line, Pax8-rtTA, which, under control of the mouse Pax8 promoter, directs high levels of expression of the reverse tetracycline–dependent transactivator (rtTA) to all proximal and distal tubules and the entire collecting duct system of both embryonic and adult kidneys. Using crosses of Pax8-rtTA mice with tetracycline-responsive c-MYC mice, we established a new, inducible model of polycystic kidney disease that can mimic adult onset and that shows progression to renal malignant disease. When targeting the expression of transforming growth factor-β1 to the kidney, we avoided early lethality by discontinuous treatment and successfully established an inducible model of renal fibrosis. Finally, a conditional knockout of the gene encoding tuberous sclerosis complex-1 was achieved, which resulted in the early outgrowth of giant polycystic kidneys reminiscent of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease. These experiments establish Pax8-rtTA mice as a powerful tool for modeling renal diseases in transgenic mice.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates cellular processes important for progression of human cancer. RAD001 (everolimus), an mTORC1 (mTOR/raptor) inhibitor, has broad antitumor activity in preclinical models and cancer patients. Although most tumor lines are RAD001 sensitive, some are not. Selective mTORC1 inhibition can elicit increased AKT S473 phosphorylation, involving insulin receptor substrate 1, which is suggested to potentially attenuate effects on tumor cell proliferation and viability. Rictor may also play a role because rictor kinase complexes (including mTOR/rictor) regulate AKT S473 phosphorylation. The role of raptor and rictor in the in vitro response of human cancer cells to RAD001 was investigated. Using a large panel of cell lines representing different tumor histotypes, the basal phosphorylation of AKT S473 and some AKT substrates was found to correlate with the antiproliferative response to RAD001. In contrast, increased AKT S473 phosphorylation induced by RAD001 did not correlate. Similar increases in AKT phosphorylation occurred following raptor depletion using siRNA. Strikingly, rictor down-regulation attenuated AKT S473 phosphorylation induced by mTORC1 inhibition. Further analyses showed no relationship between modulation of AKT phosphorylation on S473 and T308 and AKTsubstrate phosphorylation patterns. Using a dual pan-class I phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mTOR catalytic inhibitor (NVP-BEZ235), currently in phase I trials, concomitant targeting of these kinases inhibited AKT S473 phosphorylation, eliciting more profound cellular responses than mTORC1 inhibition alone. However, reduced cell viability could not be predicted from biochemical or cellular responses to mTORC1 inhibitors. These data could have implications for the clinical application of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mTOR inhibitors.
Constitutive activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a key kinase complex that regulates cell size and growth, is observed with inactivating mutations of either of the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes, Tsc1 and Tsc2. Tsc1 and Tsc2 are highly expressed in cardiovascular tissue but their functional role there is unknown. We generated a tissue-specific knock-out of Tsc1, using a conditional allele of Tsc1 and a cre recombinase allele regulated by the smooth muscle protein-22 (SM22) promoter (Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/−) to constitutively activate mTOR in cardiovascular tissue. Significant gene recombination (∼80%) occurred in the heart by embryonic day (E) 15, and reduction in Tsc1 expression with increased levels of phosphorylated S6 kinase (S6K) and S6 was observed, consistent with constitutive activation of mTORC1. Cardiac hypertrophy was evident by E15 with post-natal progression to heart weights of 142 ± 24 mg in Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/− mice versus 65 ± 14 mg in controls (P < 0.01). Median survival of Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/− mice was 24 days, with none surviving beyond 6 weeks. Pathologic and echocardiographic analysis revealed severe biventricular hypertrophy without evidence of fibrosis or myocyte disarray, and significant reduction in the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (P < 0.001) and fractional index (P < 0.001). Inhibition of mTORC1 by rapamycin resulted in prolonged survival of Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/− mice, with regression of ventricular hypertrophy. These data support a critical role for the Tsc1/Tsc2-mTORC1-S6K axis in the normal development of cardiovascular tissue and also suggest possible therapeutic potential of rapamycin in cardiac disorders where pathologic mTORC1 activation occurs.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a human genetic disorder in which loss of either TSC1 or TSC2 leads to development of hamartoma lesions, which can progress and be life-threatening or fatal. The TSC1/TSC2 protein complex regulates the state of activation of mTORC1. Tsc2+/− mice develop renal cystadenoma lesions which grow progressively. Both bortezomib and metformin have been proposed as potential therapeutics in TSC. We examined the potential benefit of 1 month treatment with bortezomib, and 4 month treatment with metformin in Tsc2+/− mice. Results were compared to vehicle treatment and treatment with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin for 1 month. We used a quantitative tumor volume measurement on stained paraffin sections to assess the effect of these drugs. The median tumor volume per kidney was decreased by 99% in mice treated with rapamycin (p = 0.0004). In contrast, the median tumor volume per kidney was not significantly reduced for either the bortezomib cohort or the metformin cohort. Biochemical studies confirmed that bortezomib and metformin had their expected pharmacodynamic effects. We conclude that neither bortezomib nor metformin has significant benefit in this native Tsc2+/− mouse model, which suggests limited benefit of these compounds in the treatment of TSC hamartomas and related lesions.
mTORC1 is a validated therapeutic target for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Here, analysis of Tsc1 deficient (mTORC1 hyperactivation) mice uncovered a FoxO-dependent negative feedback circuit constraining mTORC1-mediated renal tumorigenesis. We document robust FoxO activation in Tsc1 deficient benign polycystic kidneys and FoxO extinction upon progression to murine renal tumors; murine renal tumor progression upon genetic deletion of both Tsc1 and FoxOs; and down-regulated FoxO expression in most human renal clear cell and papillary carcinomas, yet continued expression in less aggressive RCCs and benign renal tumor subtypes. Mechanistically, integrated analyses revealed that FoxO-mediated block operates via suppression of Myc through up-regulation of the Myc antagonists, Mxi1-SRα and mir-145, establishing a FoxO-Mxi1-SRα/mir-145 axis as a major progression block in renal tumor development.
The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway regulates mammalian cell growth, survival, and motility and plays a major pathogenetic role in human prostate cancer (PCa). However, the oncogenic contributions downstream of the PI3K pathway made by mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)–mediated cell growth signal transduction in PCa have yet to be elucidated in detail. Here, we engineered constitutive mTORC1 activation in prostate epithelium by a conditional genetic deletion of tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (Tsc1), a potent negative regulator of mTORC1 signaling. Epithelial inactivation was not immediately tumorigenic, but Tsc1-deficient mice developed prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (mPIN) in lateral and anterior prostates by 6 months of age, with increasing disease penetrance over time. Lateral prostate lesions in 16- to 22-month-old mutant mice progressed to two types of more advanced lesions, adenomatous gland forming lesion (Type 1) and atypical glands embedded in massively expanded reactive stroma (Type 2). Both Type 1 and Type 2 lesions contained multiple foci of microinvasive carcinoma. Epithelial neoplastic and atypical stromal lesions persisted despite 4 weeks of RAD001 chemotherapy. Rapalogue resistance was not due to AKT or extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation. Expression of the homeobox gene Nkx3.1 was lost in Tsc1-deficient mPIN, and it cooperated with TSC1 loss in mPIN initiation in doubly mutant Tsc1:Nkx3.1 prostatic epithelial knockout mice. Thus, TSC1 inactivation distal to PI3K and AKT activation is sufficient to activate a molecular signaling cascade producing prostatic neoplasia and focal carcinogenesis.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an often severe neurocutaneous syndrome. Cortical tubers are the predominant neuropathological finding in TSC, and their number and location has been shown to correlate roughly with the severity of neurologic features in TSC. Past studies have shown that genomic deletion events in TSC1 or TSC2 are very rare in tubers, and suggested the potential involvement of the MAPK pathway in their pathogenesis. We used deep sequencing to assess all coding exons of TSC1 and TSC2, and the activating mutation hot spots within KRAS in 46 tubers from TSC patients. Germline heterozygous mutations were identified in 81% of tubers. The same secondary mutation in TSC2 was identified in 6 tuber samples from one individual. Further study showed that this second hit mutation was widely distributed in the cortex from one cerebral hemisphere of this individual at frequencies up to 10%. No other secondary mutations were found in the other 40 tubers analyzed. These data indicate that small second hit mutations in any of these three genes are very rare in TSC tubers. However, in one TSC individual, a second hit TSC2 point mutation occurred early during brain development, and likely contributed to tuber formation.
Renal angiomyolipoma are part of the PEComa family of neoplasms, and occur both in association with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) and independent of that disorder. Previous studies on the molecular genetic alterations that occur in angiomyolipoma are very limited. We evaluated 9 angiomyolipoma for which frozen tissue was available from a consecutive surgical series. Seven of 8 samples subjected to RT-PCR-cDNA sequencing showed mutations in TSC2; none showed mutations in TSC1 or RHEB. Six of the seven mutations were deletions. We searched for 983 activating and inactivating mutations in 115 genes, and found none in these tumors. Similarly analysis for genomic regions of loss or gain, assessed by Affymetrix SNP6.0 analysis, showed no abnormalities. Loss of heterozygosity in the TSC2 region was commonly seen, except in patients with low frequency TSC2 mutations. We conclude that sporadic renal angiomyolipoma usually have mutations in TSC2, but not TSC1 or RHEB, and have no other common genomic events, among those we searched for. However, chromosomal translocations and gene fusion events were not assessed here. TSC2 inactivation by mutation is a consistent and likely necessary genetic event in the pathogenesis of most angiomyolipoma.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is among the most lethal complications that occur in type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Podocyte dysfunction is postulated to be a critical event associated with proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis in glomerular diseases including DN. However, molecular mechanisms of podocyte dysfunction in the development of DN are not well understood. Here we have shown that activity of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), a kinase that senses nutrient availability, was enhanced in the podocytes of diabetic animals. Further, podocyte-specific mTORC1 activation induced by ablation of an upstream negative regulator (PcKOTsc1) recapitulated many DN features, including podocyte loss, glomerular basement membrane thickening, mesangial expansion, and proteinuria in nondiabetic young and adult mice. Abnormal mTORC1 activation caused mislocalization of slit diaphragm proteins and induced an epithelial-mesenchymal transition–like phenotypic switch with enhanced ER stress in podocytes. Conversely, reduction of ER stress with a chemical chaperone significantly protected against both the podocyte phenotypic switch and podocyte loss in PcKOTsc1 mice. Finally, genetic reduction of podocyte-specific mTORC1 in diabetic animals suppressed the development of DN. These results indicate that mTORC1 activation in podocytes is a critical event in inducing DN and suggest that reduction of podocyte mTORC1 activity is a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent DN.
Animal models of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) are highly desired to enable detailed investigation of the pathogenesis of these diseases. Multiple rats and mice have been generated in which a mutation similar to that occurring in TSC patients is present in an allele of Tsc1 or Tsc2. Unfortunately, these mice do not develop pathologic lesions that match those seen in LAM or TSC. However, these Tsc rodent models have been useful in confirming the two-hit model of tumor development in TSC, and in providing systems in which therapeutic trials (e.g., rapamycin) can be performed. In addition, conditional alleles of both Tsc1 and Tsc2 have provided the opportunity to target loss of these genes to specific tissues and organs, to probe the in vivo function of these genes, and attempt to generate better models. Efforts to generate an authentic LAM model are impeded by a lack of understanding of the cell of origin of this process. However, ongoing studies provide hope that such a model will be generated in the coming years.
Increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity has been implicated in the pathogenesis of lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). The objective of this study was to investigate how tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) 1 or TSC2 deficiency alters MMP expression and regulation. We studied immortalized cells that lack TSC2 derived from an angiomyolipoma of a patient with LAM, a TSC2 addback derivative, and murine embryonic fibroblast cells that lack Tsc1 or -2 and respective controls. Global gene expression analysis was performed in the angiomyolipoma and derivative cell lines. MMP levels in the conditioned media from these cells were analyzed by zymography and ELISA. We found increased MMP-2 expression in cells lacking TSC1/TSC2 compared with their respective controls by zymography. MMP-2 overproduction by these cells was not affected by rapamycin treatment. Gene expression analysis confirmed increased MMP-2 gene expression that was not affected by rapamycin. Furthermore, multiple other genes were found to be overexpressed in rapamycin-treated TSC2-deficient cells compared with TSC2+ cells. We conclude that TSC1/TSC2 deficiency leads to MMP-2 overproduction that is rapamycin-insensitive, and that several genes exhibit similar patterns, suggesting that TSC1/TSC2–dependent, but mammalian target of rapamycin–independent, pathways may be involved in the pathogenesis of LAM.
interstitial collagenase; neoplasms; sirolimus
Tuberin, the Tsc2 gene product, integrates PI3K/MAPK (mitogenic) and LKB1/AMPK (energy) signaling pathways, and previous independent studies have shown that loss of tuberin is associated with elevated AMPK signaling and altered p27 function. In Tsc2-null tumors and tumor-derived cells from Eker rats, we observed elevated AMPK signaling and concordant cytoplasmic mislocalization of p27. Cytoplasmic localization of p27 in Tsc2-null cells was reversible pharmacologically using inhibitors of the LKB1/AMPK pathway, and localization of p27 to the cytoplasm could be induced directly by activating AMPK physiologically (glucose deprivation) or genetically (constitutively-active AMPK) in Tsc2-proficient cells. Furthermore, AMPK phosphorylated p27 in vitro on at least three sites including T170 near the NLS, and T170 was demonstrated to determine p27 localization in response to AMPK signaling. p27 functions in the nucleus to suppress Cdk2 activity, and has been reported to mediate an anti-apoptotic function when localized to the cytoplasm. We found that cells with elevated AMPK signaling and cytoplasmic p27 localization exhibited elevated Cdk2 activity, which could be suppressed by inhibiting AMPK signaling. In addition, cells with elevated AMPK signaling and cytoplasmic p27 localization were resistant to apoptosis, which could be overcome by inhibition of AMPK signaling and relocalization of p27 to the nucleus. These data demonstrate that AMPK signaling determines the subcellular localization of p27, and identifies loss of integration of pathways controlling energy balance, the cell cycle and apoptosis due to aberrant AMPK and p27 function as a feature of cells that have lost the Tsc2 tumor suppressor gene.
AMPK; TSC2; p27
mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1) activation has been demonstrated in response to endotoxin challenge, but the mechanism and significance are unclear. We investigated the effect of mTORC1 suppression in an animal model of endotoxemia and in a cellular model of endotoxin signaling.
Mice were treated with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin or vehicle prior to lethal endotoxin challenge. Mortality and cytokine levels were assessed. Cultured macrophage-like cells were challenged with endotoxin with or without inhibitors of various pathways known to be upstream of mTORC1. Activated pathways, including downstream S6K pathway, were assessed by immunoblots. We found that mTORC1-S6K suppression by rapamycin delayed mortality of mice challenged with lethal endotoxin, and was associated with dampened circulating levels of VEGF, IL-1β, IFN-γ and IL-5. Furthermore, in vitro cellular studies demonstrated that LPS (lipopolysaccharide) activation of mTORC1-S6K still occurs in the presence of PI3K-Akt inhibition alone, but can be suppressed by concurrent inhibition of PI3K-Akt and MEK-ERK pathways.
We conclude that cellular activation of mTORC1-S6K contributes to cytokine up-regulation and mortality in response to endotoxin, and may occur via multiple pathways.